We at the Dankles have been longtime followers of the “polytemponic melodo-crunkyedy bass” music that Sugarpill has been known to produce, and it was for this reason that we decided to connect with this pioneer and learn some more information about his background in the galactic music scene. However, what makes this interview even more special is that it comes along with the full release of his newest 7-track album Space Foray! It can be found below and is available for purchase and download, or your general free listening! So, tune into some interstellar beats and let’s delve into the mind of the man called Sugarpill!
Buy Space Foray on Beatport here!
The Dankles: To start this off properly, we should get the basics out of the way for those who might be less familiar with you; What’s your name, current location, and how did you get yourself involved with the EDM scene?
Sugarpill: Evan, LA/my bathroom/my studio/my porch, and I think I blame curiosity, nerdyness, loving music, loving experimentation, and just plain chaos.
TD: Who or what were some of your early musical influences as a producer?
SP: I’m really proud of the fact that my parents played king crimson through headphones on my mom’s stomach when I was in the womb. I stumbled on squarepusher’s don’t go plastic when I was about 18, that track really changed my entire perspective on electronic music. Prior to that I really care for any electronic music that wasn’t hip-hop. I played in a lot of bands growing up and I always just really liked making up my own songs. I didn’t have the patience or desire to spend hours learning how to play other people’s music, when I could just make stuff up on my own that resonated inside me.
TD: Through following on Soundcloud we have seen a lot of variety in your production, whether it be in future bass, dubstep, hip-hop, or your notoriously labeled ( . Y . ) bass; do you look to focus on a specific genre of tunes or just feel it out as you go along?
SP: I’m really not into genres. I like to hear variation in all the elements of music. I feel like the fact that genres play such a strong role in EDM just ends up stifling creativity because the importance that people place on their genre seems to just make it really hard to color outside the lines.
I understand that people have to generalize things so they can talk about something to their friends and that’s totally cool. What bums me out is when I hear people restricting their creativity for the sake of fitting in to someone else’s watered-down generalization of a sound.
TD: Now, what would you say separates you from the rest of the game when it comes to your sound as a producer?
TD: What kind of software and equipment do you use to produce your music?
SP: I produce in ableton, with a midi controller when I’m at home in the studio. I use a lot of different software synths and effects. I like to try new software as much as possible and just turn the knobs until something new and cool comes out of it. A lot of my songs come out of some experimentation on a new synth or something that I just end up building around. I’ve found that if I don’t experiment to get a jump of point for a song, I can get bored and distracted pretty quickly.
TD: Stemming from the last question, how does this differ from your set up when you’re performing? What kind of software and equipment do you use to when you’re djing live?
SP: I use ableton in my live set as well. I have a couple of toys/tools I use to manipulate parts of my songs and mesh things together. I end up changing up my setup pretty often cause I break stuff a lot. But right now I’m using an ipad running a custom template I made in Lemur app and a midifighter 3D. My setup is pretty straightforward, I have the backbones of my songs and variation parts and melody and acapella separated for each of my songs. Once I get going I’m playing the separate parts together to remake the song, sometimes over another song and sometimes just to be able to improvise on one of the parts while the other plays straight. That way I get a kind of mashy medley of my songs instead of just a DJ mix of full songs put together end to end.
TD: One question many of us at The Dankles have been meaning to ask is about your moniker Sugarpill; where’d it come from?
SP: The best names are given to you by other people.
TD: I’m sure you’ve noticed the rise of “Trap” music in EDM. With such a fast growth in popularity it’s hard to ignore its “oversaturation” in the scene – what are your thoughts on the bandwagon genre and what do you expect to result from this trap pandemic?
SP: I actually think I like trap more than the last few genre fads. Maybe I don’t really know what trap is or it hasn’t been homogenized to the point that its just the same song, but right now I kind of like the fact that a lot of fans I talk to don’t really know what it is or how to exactly describe it. I’m probably just living under a rock, but I think I’ve been listening to trap for years now. As I can tell what people seem to be playing as trap is just rap beats without the vocals… so… Rap – Vocals = trap beat in 2012?
TD: Taking a moment from music business for a second, what would we find Sugarpill doing on a day off outside the studio?
SP: All of the stuff that I’ve been neglecting to do while being locked in the studio.
TD: What can you tell us about your newest album Space Foray and what were some of your thought processes in making such a dynamic and unique album?
SP: This album is kind of a culmination of a bunch of things that I’ve been trying to bring together in a single release for a while now. I have been really stoked on the idea of putting out a release that crosses a lot of ground all the way through. I write a lot when I’m traveling as well as at home in the studio and each of the songs on the album come from a different part of me because they were all written in different places in the space and time of my life. I wanted this album to have a lot of variation so I chose this collection of songs because they touch different musical elements in terms of tempo, melody, harmony, and sound palate, but at the same time they still connect in this way this is like a single journey to some far corner of space. My ultimate goal in putting this release together was to do it in a way that when I listen to it, I couldn’t tell whether I was on some inner journey in my mind or on a completely external journey somewhere in space. Trying to get a single expression to do both of those things is something that I’m working try to embody in my music all the time.
TD: Now, with your new bangin’ 7 track album released and available for purchase, what do you have in the works for the upcoming fall months as far as concerts, tours, and festivals?
SP: I’m planning to get back out and play these songs as well as selections from the next release I’m always working toward. Pretty much just doing being weird and having fun at it. I’ll be PA, NYC, Chicago, LA, SF, and Kansas City in the weeks immediately following the release and after that check sugarpillmusic.com for the details.
TD: WIth so many shows and festivals under your belt in the last few years, what would you say has been your most memorable moment on stage/performing?
SP: I really have a hard time with this question. Its been such an amazing and memorable ride. I kind of live in a constant forward motion a lot so picking one is just not something I can get in touch with for more than a fleeting second before some other one pops into my mind.
TD: Thank you so much for taking some time to sit with us here at The Dankles and discussing a little about yourself with us! Any last words or shout outs you’d like to make before we finish up?